Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Travel Link-Up: The Ultimate Travel Menu

So, this month's travel link-up topic was pretty creative: we were asked to create the ultimate "travel menu", consisting of a "starter" (a short-haul destination), a "main" (a long-haul location), and a "dessert" ("a place with a lasting impression").

I've been fantasizing taking this sort of extended vacation long before this travel link-up topic had been suggested, so it was perfect timing to create my ultimate travel itinerary.


I'm greedy. I'm the type of person who quickly scans the menu at a restaurant and wants to go for everything. So, I'm adapting this topic a little bit and adding an amuse bouche (because my imagined, metaphorical travel-restaurant is totally fancy-pants), plus petits fours - because I'm that extra.

Menu du jour 

Amuse bouche
A weekend in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is my ideal city-break location: small enough to handle, large enough to explore, laid-back enough to kick back and relax if you want to (you'll begin to notice a theme to this menu shortly, with an emphasis on relaxation), but with plenty of options to keep you entertained. 

I'd spend a weekend sleeping in (preferably at The Hoxton on Herengracht), before stuffing my face with pancakes at Pancakes Amsterdam and Instagramming all the canals. I'd go for a spot of boutique-browsing in De 9 Straatjes (The 9 Streets) and pick up souvenirs for our home, before getting lost at the Rijksmuseum and grabbing dinner in the fashionable Jordaan neighborhood. 

Four days in Iceland

A soak in the private lagoon at The Blue Lagoon's Silica Hotel; a seafood feast in Reykjavik; a roadside stop to pet Icelandic ponies - a four-day break in Iceland would be a wonderful way to "whet" anyone's globe-trotting appetite.

We fell in love with the country's beautiful, natural landscape: the ice-blue waterfalls, the moss-covered lava rocks, and the mountains in the distance. Away from the popular tourist trail of the "Golden Circle", it's so quiet, you can hear yourself think. Walks become therapeautic; the bracing winds, strangely healing.

I'd return to this Airbnb and barbecue expensive meats on the deck if it's summer (because everything is expensive in Iceland - except for the free views) and gaze wistfully up at the night sky for the Northern Lights in winter.

Main course
Two weeks in Sri Lanka

The day we left Sri Lanka, I wept. And I'm not the only one - others have been known to cry after parting with their guides in this wonderful, wonderful place. 

Here, I'd eat crab curry at sunset outside our suite at Apa Villas, get pummelled into a state of utter relaxation by the excellent masseusses at Amangalla in Galle Fort, watch monkeys swing from tree-to-tree overhead while lounging poolside at The River House, and explore any other parts of this incredible island that we missed on our last visit.

Sri Lanka has it all: fantastic hospitality, great weather (when it isn't monsoon season, of course), amazing food, beautiful scenery, and a truly adventurous vibe.

One week in Bordeaux 

On returning from our trip to Bordeaux last year, I found myself Googling "work permits in France for non-EU citizens". If that doesn't constitute a "lasting impression", then I don't know what does!

From the green vineyards and the stately chateaus to the city's food and antique markets, Bordeaux is a city for indulgent living. I felt downright hedonistic when I was there: accepting caramel-filled cookies for dessert, buying a whole rotisserie chicken for dinner, slurping oysters from their shells!

I'd love to return to Arcachon Bay when the sun's shining to run down the Dune du Pilat, before shaking off the sand for a Premier Cru facial at Les Sources de Caudalie.

Then, I'd hunt down the best flea markets for vintage glass medicine bottles (perfect for displaying single blooms), antique maps, and vintage furniture before collapsing in a heap at Wine More Time for a cheese-plate, glass of champagne, and a bit of people-watching.

Petits fours
A long weekend at home, in London

Because - when I was in Morocco - I got homesick. We were sitting in a restaurant, eating another so-so meal, in a city I didn't love, and all I could think about was our living room: the feeling of the rug under my bare feet; the light streaming in through the windows on a (rare) sunny morning; the sight of my bookshelves, on which I'd carefully arranged my collection of books, photographs, and magazines; the view of our garden through the dining room ... and I got a little teary. 

I have never. ever experienced that feeling of homesickness on vacation. Ever. But all I wanted to do, in that instant, was to be home - to feel the warm, friendly walls of our house around me, enveloping me in a sort of spatial hug. 

It sounds crazy. It probably is. But visiting a place we both didn't enjoy made us realize just how much we love our home and being at home. Ending our travels with a luxurious long-weekend in our house would be like that first sip of espresso at the end of a meal.

What would your ultimate travel menu look like? I'd love to know!

This post was written as a part of the travel link-up hosted by Polly, Emma, Angie, and Binny. Head over to their blogs to read about more wanderlust-inducing travel "menus"!

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